BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- There was some good and bad for the Chicago in Saturday’s 2-2 draw vs. the Philadelphia Union.
Good: The Fire scored first for the fourth time in five games this season
Bad: The team conceded two goals, including another from a set piece to go into the break down 2-1 at halftime.
Good: The Fire went into half time leading ever so slightly in possession (52-48% for the first time this season)
Bad: The team was still down 2-1.
Good: Mike Magee scored his first goal of the season as did Juan Luis Anangono as the team battled back to equalize late once again this season.
More Good: Anangono even drew a stoppage time penalty kick to earn the Fire the win.
Bad: Magee’s storybook penalty attempt at the death was thwarted by an incredible save from Zac MacMath. So was his rebound.
So while there were certainly moments where the Fire could have won (see the first 25 minutes and the last 10) or lost the match (see the middle 35), for the fourth straight game, the team is talking about taking just a point.
“There’s no catharsis,” said Fire captain Jeff Larentowicz. “We continue to seem like we’re there but we’re not. You try to look at the bright side and say ‘we’re not losing, we’re coming back, we’re fighting.’ Substitutes are making a difference, new guys are coming in, there are a lot of positives and you think about those but in the end there’s not that win, there’s not that three points in the standings.”
That lull of a fourth straight draw at the start of the season is understandably frustrating but according to Magee, it’s just a matter of getting over the hump with the team’s first victory.
“The first win is the hardest,” he said post-game. “I feel the longer you go without winning, your confidence kind of goes down. Obviously plays become harder and you over think everything. That first one would have been perfect tonight, the stars were aligned for it but it just didn’t happen.”
The situation might have been all too familiar for Magee, who saw a potential hat trick performance thwarted last September when he missed a penalty in a home draw with Montreal. The score of that match also ended 2-2 and was cited by many as the one point that kept the team from making the playoffs.
And while Magee bagged what the Fire will hope to be the first of many goals for the 2013 MLS MVP on Saturday, he couldn’t say much about it in the face of seeing his attempt saved by MacMath at the death.
“It’s hard to talk about it to be honest,” he said. “It’s good to get that monkey off your back but the only thing on my mind is obviously not winning and having a pretty sweet opportunity to be. Obviously it was more [MacMath] moment than mine.
Post-game Yallop said he was proud of the team’s continued ability to be able to fight to earn a result and wouldn’t let Magee shoulder the blame for not taking the full three points.
“We tried to win the match and Mike will love to have that [penalty] back. Penalty kicks are difficult, it’s a pressure situation and sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t. I just saw it – the kid made a great save.”